Burstner Argos A747

By: Bill Savidan, Photography by: Bill Savidan


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How did Burstner [and Fiat] get such a long motorhome on a Fiat Ducato? The answer is clever engineering.

Burstner Argos A747
Burstner Argos A747
  • Large garage storage space
  • Fluid-based central heating, more efficient for large interiors
  • Luxurious and large ensuite
  • Sliding doors separate areas
  • Despite its length, manoeuvring is easy

To achieve a useful payload Burstner fitted an extra rear axle (a tag axle). To reduce height and improve handling it mounted the Argos on an Al-Ko chassis that is lower and wider than the regular Fiat issue.

The exterior colour scheme helps in disguising its bulk with the use of swirling coloured body stripes and a grey skirt.

Engineering and design

At five tonnes, 8.86m long and 2.3m wide, the Argos A747 is bigger than your average RV, so how does it handle? The Fiat Ducato three-litre six-speed manual maintains the legal speed limit with ease in traffic on both flat and average hilly conditions and it won’t embarrass you on steeper hills or bendy beach roads, either.

The steering is light and precise, so manoeuvring in tight situations is no real problem. There’s 17.5 metre turning circle and the extra length does cause the rear axles to "cut the corner", so swing a little wider to avoid this trap.

A current Class 2 licence and vehicle Certificate of Fitness is required to operate the Argos A747.

The interior

There is a huge amount of storage provided. A "garage" storage facility runs across the rear with a large door each side, big enough to accommodate a motor scooter, or a couple of bicycles along with BBQ, tables and chairs, golf clubs and fishing rods. Between the floor and the Alko chassis is another locker across the full width of the vehicle.

The spacious ensuite is another surprise. The toilet and vanity enclosure is on the passenger’s side, the wardrobe and shower stall are on the driver’s side, with access between them from the kitchen to the rear bedroom. Closing sliding doors between the kitchen and the bedroom create an ensuite/changing space of Hilton Hotel proportions. The egg-shell hand basin balanced on the vanity unit is particularly elegant.

The settee has adjustable cushion angles from upright to (almost) laid-back. Just pull a cord between the seat cushions and the rear cushion leans back and the seat cushion tilts up at the front. Magic!

The queen size bed over the cab lifts out of the way to ease access to the cab, and curtains provide privacy.

A sliding partition screens the cab from the lounge, so the cab seats are not part of the lounge seating arrangement. They are not needed, as the settee can seat four at a pinch, and the L shaped dinette accommodates three. The dining table can be removed as required.

The Alpe radiator heating system offers warm winter motorhoming in the deepest south of the South Island. Although not as quick to heat from start-up, this system does not dry the air as much as blown air heaters and produces a very even, cosy heat throughout the vehicle.

LED lighting is used extensively with a "stream" of six fixtures down each side of the lounge/dinette/kitchen space, plus a "bar" of LED lights each side for reading.

The kitchen area is as lavish as the bathroom with its full oven/four-burner hob/grill, 160-litre fridge/freeze and waterfall bench top. Overall, the internal storage in the Argos is adequate for long-term living aboard, especially when used in conjunction with the huge external locker space, but the kitchen storage convenience factor is missing.

As with most Burstner products, the Argos’ interior offers durability and comfort created from a combination of colour scheme, component quality and layout. The entry door is in the middle of the vehicle in the kitchen area, the lounge/dinette towards the front, the ensuite bathroom towards the back and the bedroom across the rear. Concealed sliding doors can separate these areas as required. There are five separate roof hatches for light and ventilation. All windows are fitted with blinds and insect screens, and (kitchen window excepted) roman blinds and curtains.

The fridge freezer is fitted with Automatic Energy Selection; the dinette’s four seats have seat belts fitted, the kitchen has a microwave, and the swivel toilet is a cassette model. Be sure to ask about the solar panel, SatPos satellite aerial, LCD TV, and Freeview tuner.

Specifications

Base vehicle Fiat Ducato with lo-line Al-Ko chassis
Engine 3.0-litre diesel
Power 115kW @ 3500rpm
Torque 400Nm @ 1700rpm
Length 8860mm
Width 2230mm
Height 3250mm
Cooker Four-burner with oven/grill
Heating Alpe heat exchanger
Fridge 160-litre (33-litre freezer)
Fresh water 130 litres
Grey water 130 litres

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